I was out running last weekend, early in the morning. One of the routes I take is along the water, it’s peaceful. I was in the zone, just me, the lake and the sound of my breathing, when I heard another pair of feet pounding the pavement. To look back would have totally wrecked my stride so I listened, it wasn’t long until those feet passed me, and man did they pass me. This guy was running at double the pace I was running at, holy crap, I thought to myself, look at that guy go. I have to admit that my pride did give me a bit of a twinge. My first instinct was to speed up, at least give it a shot. But then I thought “Gus, you smoked longer than that guy has been alive.”
You see, I smoked for thirty years, quit two years ago. Don’t worry, I am not gonna ex-smoker you to death. I thought it would be a great way to help me quit if I started jogging, so that is what I did. Oh I am not going to pretend it was easy. There are some people who just quit, they say ‘that is enough of that” and they quit. My wife quit this way. I hate those people. It took me two years of ‘the patch’, pills, lying, crying, sneaking, back to smoking, back to the patch, then I finally got it. So one of the things I thought I would do to reward myself would be to get in shape, what better way to get in shape than jogging right? Right!
So I put on my running shoes and some shorts and hit the pavement. I figured now that I had quit smoking I should go like stink, run like the wind. Well I made it about two blocks, more or less, bent over and coughed until I barfed all over the street. Hello neighbours, it is me Gus, don’t mind the barf, I just started jogging, pretty good huh!
But I tired again a few days later, against my egos better judgement, and a couple of days after that, and so on. I can run for about 30 minutes now, on a good day. My lungs still hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurts and I keep waiting for it to get easier! When am I going to be one of those guys that pass me at the speed of light and don’t even look like they are breathing hard. (I have this crazy, whistling wheeze after about 20 minutes).
I have no illusions that I am going to become a marathon runner, and that is ok. My face doesn’t get red anymore when I bend down to tie my shoes, my wife tells me I look better, and the neighbours have gotten over the barfing incident. The way I figure it, as long as I keep at it, maybe, just maybe I will stick around to see my grandkids graduate. That is good enough for me.